Advocates calls for more painkiller restrictions

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Updated: 4/29/2014 2:19 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Drug abuse prevention advocates have rallied outside the Massachusetts Statehouse in support of greater limits on a powerful new painkiller as Gov. Deval Patrick's latest attempt at restricting the medication faces a legal challenge.

The Tuesday rally drew more than 150 people wearing white T-shirts saying "Stay Strong" and holding signs calling the drug, Zohydro, "heroin in a capsule."

Speakers called on federal officials to reconsider approval of the drug, which some public health officials say can be easily abused and comes in dosages of the narcotic hydrocodone higher than those found in other painkillers.

Zogenix, the drug's San Diego-based maker, argues in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that Massachusetts' new restrictions are "draconian" and amount to an effective ban in the state. Zogenix says the drug an appropriate alternative for people with severe chronic pain.

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